This story first appeared in the fall 2018 issue of the Concordian, the official magazine of Concordia University Wisconsin.
Arcetta S. Knautz (’98, ’00) has a heart for residence life on a college campus. As the director of university housing/assistant dean of students at the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee (UWM), Knautz and her 66 colleagues take personal responsibility for the growth and development of the 4,300 college students who reside in one of the university’s eight residence halls.
She credits her time at Concordia University Wisconsin for preparing her for this role.
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“Concordia was a stepping stone for me falling in love with housing and the student development profession,” says Knautz. “When I was in college I was grounded by my faith, but I still needed help managing my day-to-day. Concordia invested in me and helped me figure things out.”
Knautz enrolled at Concordia her freshman year and enjoyed her campus experience so much that she became a resident advisor and then a hall director. This allowed her to live there year round while earning her undergraduate degree in education and then an MS in student personnel administration. Seven years later, Knautz finally moved out.
“I moved in as a freshman and basically never left,” jokes Knautz.
Knautz worked in residence life at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh before making UWM her home in 2005. Since then, Knautz has been promoted four times. She credits her success to being eager to learn from those around her, most notably, her boss and mentor for 13 years.
Knautz’s day is filled with big foundational decisions and small meaningful interactions, but her top priority always remains the well-being of her students.
“So much of the college experience happens outside the classroom,” says Knautz. “Operating in residence life means that we, of course, have to understand academics, but we also have to be helpful with personal, family, and roommate conflicts, and everything else that could affect our students 24 hours of every day.”
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When she feels anxious about a certain decision or direction, Knautz turns to 2 Timothy 1:7—“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Knautz learned that passage as an undergraduate student at CUW when she was confused about her own place in the world. She continues to draw comfort and clarity from it in her professional life.
“Concordia helped me find my passion for student development,” says Knautz. “They were such a blessing to me that I’m inspired to be a blessing for my own students.”
The spring Concordian hit mailboxes the week of October 1. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, call (262) 243-4333.
— Lisa Liljegren is assistant vice president of strategic communications within the Office of Strategy and University Affairs.
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